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IRF 2011: Radio is part of people's lives

India Radio Forum 2011 saw the industry leaders convening to discuss the important issues and latest trends within the realm of the radio industry in the country. Tarun Katial, CEO, Big FM introduced the forum by stressing on the fact that radio channels needed to be more relevant today to have an engaging consumer audience. Rana Barua, Business Head, Red FM spoke about the great opportunity such a forum offers to the industry as it is a platform for the industry to come together and feel passionate about their professon.

The first panel discussion for the day was moderated by L.V. Krishnan and the topic was "Future of Radio ' 5 years on'. The panel comprised of various CEOs of radio channels like G. Krishnan, Executive Director & CEO, Oye! FM; Harrish M. Bhatia, CEO, My FM; Prashant Pandey, Executive Director & CEO, Radio Mirchi; Rahul Gupta, Director, Radio Mantra; Rana Barua, Business Head, Red FM and Tarun Katial, CEO, Big FM.

The panel discussed the popularity of radio in the first segment of the discussion. Katial said, "Radio has the ability to stay in tune with consumers' changing habits. And the inherent quality of radio is difficult to imitate in other mediums because radio is dynamic, local, nimble and extremely current."

Pandey further added, "It's not needed to see why Radio is popular, it is a young medium and it is always going to be current and relevant. Individually radio brands are far bigger than individual TV brands and today advertisers have realized that."

Elaborating on the same point, Bhatia said, "There is a lot of scope for radio in most markets where the level of internet penetration is very low. It is a flexible medium and no other medium can match up to it."

Radio is a part of daily lives and in smaller towns as the mobile penetration is high, there is a greater use according to Gupta.

After which Suman Srivastava, Founder, Unplugged gave a very interesting presentation on the topic "What of Advertising spots on radio were banned?'

The next session was about Radio and the Media Mix. Abhijit Avasthi, Executive Creative Director, O & M said, "Radio is a very exciting medium. I can say that radio is a "sexy' medium for a lot of people to work at. But I believe channels can be more open and can exploit the medium more. I admire different creative programming ideas. A whole lot of movement should come from programming."

Ratan Rathore, National Cluster Head, Radio and Cinema, Group M said, "Radio is more of reach medium then a frequency medium. I am passionate about music. Radio has grown 26% in its CAG. Phase 3 is a big opportunity for radio. We are equally part of growing this medium. Data point has to get expanded. Radio has to go on larger scale."

Kartik Sharma, Managing Partners, Maxus said, "The 1st thing I can see changing is the perception that radio is the last thing on a media planners mind. From media planner's perspective best work has come from telecom industry. We can also take a leap from UK with their Radio Advertising Bureau. The third thing is in terms of creative team. I think the "sexiness' in format as medium has to be done by creative team. Put idea as a central goal, you can surely get different and diverse solutions."

The next session was by Jon Simon, Senior Vice President, Cimarron Digital where he discussed "Digital ' The Next Big Thing'.

The next panel discussion moderated by Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar UM was engaging as the topic of discussion was "Broadening the Reach ' Planning for Radio'.

The panel comprised of Rameet Arora, Senior Director Marketing McDonald's India, Danish Khan VP & Head of Marketing, Sony Entertainment Television, Amit Tiwari General Manager, Country Head Media, Philips India and Soumen Choudhary, Business Head, BIG FM.

Khan said, "Duration has got nothing to do with the impact. Radio is a medium of engagement. We are in an environment where similar players are targeting similar segment. In this case reach of radio can be optimized to the fullest."

The next presentation was by Jake Abdullah, Vice President, Content, AMP Radio on "Programming Radio for Real people and not for Radio Programmers'.

The evening ended with the award ceremony. | By Janees Antoo [janees(at)adgully.com]

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